This blog is dedicated to open, interoperable manufacturing software and the coolest, latest and greatest things I see every day while conducting business under the banner of Inductive Automation.

Hello, my name is Steve Hechtman and I am president of Inductive Automation. During the span of one day there is more excitement, more discovery than I can possibly keep to myself. This blog is, therefore, my outlet. WARNING: This site is highly biased in favor of the most powerful, affordable manufacturing software in the world - Ignition by Inductive Automation!

Where is the 'c' in MES?

Back in 2002, I saw the acronym cMES a lot, but now it's just called MES. So I got to wondering, what happened to the 'c'? In case you don't remember, the 'c' stands for collaborative. When I searched for the term recently I came up with only a few references, which is surprising. But then I got to thinking, MES is a more appropriate term anyway because most MES software is anything but collaborative.

MES, of course, would include applications like scheduling, downtime tracking, OEE, quality assurance, maintenance management and numerous other applications which facilitate better coordination and management of the plant floor. But to do this effectively each separate function needs to collaborate with the other, as well as with each of the stakeholders such as maintenance people, the production scheduler, quality assurance, plant floor operators, the plant manager and so forth. MES should be all about collaboration.

This would imply having a shared data scheme between applications, having a single source user authentication, being able to switch quickly between applications, and having the ability to easily interconnect with various data sources and databases as well as ERP systems. It also implies having the ability to give any stakeholder access to the system from anywhere (without technical or licensing restrictions).

MES systems that fail on any of these points will be short lived and be of limited usefulness. Those that embody these points can be credited with putting the 'c' back into MES and the winners will be the manufacturers that use them.

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